Texting while driving is a major problem with an easy solution (don't text when behind the wheel, people), but it's proving to be harder and harder to get people to do just that.
So, New York is trying something new: the state has announced that it is introducing 'texting zones' off of highways this week, in order to encourage people to pull over to text, instead of doing it while driving. Think of it as a rest stop for texting—just as a sleepy driver would pull over to catch a few minutes of sleep or freshen up, drivers can now pull over at these zones to text. New York is putting up 298 signs along its highways in order to alert drivers to the 91 zones that will be in place. Hey, pulling over is a hell of a lot better than catching yourself with a ticket. In New York, a ticket for texting while driving can cost you between $50 to $150 for the first offense, $200 for a second offense if it occurs within 18 months, and up to $400 for a third offense.
"These Zones will be identified with signs along the thruway and state highways, reminding drivers that there is a nearby opportunity for them to legally and safely use their phone," said New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo during a press conference. "With this new effort, we are sending a clear message to drivers that there is no excuse to take your hands off the wheel and eyes off the road because your text can wait until the next texting zone.”
So, look. The state is doing their part to keep you and other drivers from texting while driving. There are no excuses to do so. 11,000 deaths in the U.S. just last year were attributed to texting while driving. Pull over before glancing down at the bright light of your phone, because you might be going toward the light if you're not careful.